Berlin & Munich Remain Most Desirable Cities for International Researchers, New Rankings Show


Berlin and Munich are the most desirable cities in Germany for international researchers, according to a new university ranking of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Similar to previous studies, universities have ranked in the same spots as in 2014 and 2017:

  • Freie Universität Berlin ranked in the first place
  • Humboldt University in Berlin ranked the second
  • Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich ranked third

Whereas, data show that the cities of Göttingen, Bremen, Bonn, Potsdam and Konstanz also perform well when it comes to the number of visiting researchers. 83 universities in total were included in the list. Some of them are:

  • The University of Konstanz ranked from 16th to 10th place
  • The University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover ranked from 38 to 12
  • The University of Würzburg ranked from 22 to 14 and
  • The University of Regensburg from 24 to 15

Universities have been ranked based on the number of international researchers funded by the Humboldt Foundation who have visited certain universities during the past five years, Erudera reports.

“In addition to the large universities in metropolitan areas, there are also many smaller institutions that are internationally visible and attractive. This distributed excellence is a real strength of German science,” HumboldtFoundation President Hans-Christian Pape said.

According to data, in the 2015-2019 period, 6,196 international scientists stayed as guests in Germany, 74 per cent of which were visiting universities.

The Humboldt Foundation, every year grants scholarships to more than 2,000 researchers from across the world in Germany. According to the foundation’s statements, applicants themselves choose the research project as well as the research institution in Germany. Following this, the foundation ranks the top position in rankings by considering international contacts as well as the institution’s reputation.

However, the pandemic has affected the international exchange in the scope of science, and Pape believes the changes in mobility could affect international collaboration permanently. He insists that new concepts for international cooperation should be found as it would be destructive for Germany, which is considered a research country if it does not think beyond borders.

According to rankings, Cologne tops the list in natural sciences while visiting researchers are more attracted to Regensburg. On the other hand, Berlin is the first regarding the field of humanities.

As of the non-university institutions, data shows that the Max Planck Institutes is the leading one, followed by the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf.

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